Dethlefsen, Merlyn Hans, Col

 Service Photo   Service Details
45 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1975-1977, 96th Bombardment Wing, Heavy
Service Years
1954 - 1977
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

58 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by MSgt Ken Davis (The Old Sarge) to remember Dethlefsen, Merlyn Hans, Col USAF(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Dec 14, 1987
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 65 Lot 1626

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Not Specified
Other Comments:

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization:
Major (then Capt.), U.S. Air Force.

Place and date: In the air over North Vietnam, 10 March 1967.

Entered service at: Royal, Iowa. Born: 29 June 1934, Greenville, Iowa.

Citation to Accompany the Award of the Medal of Honor:
Maj. Dethlefsen was 1 of a flight of F-105 aircraft engaged in a fire suppression mission designed to destroy a key antiaircraft defensive complex containing surface-to-air missiles (SAM), an exceptionally heavy concentration of antiaircraft artillery, and other automatic weapons. The defensive network was situated to dominate the approach and provide protection to an important North Vietnam industrial center that was scheduled to be attacked by fighter bombers immediately after the strike by Maj. Dethlefsen's flight. In the initial attack on the defensive complex the lead aircraft was crippled, and Maj. Dethlefsen's aircraft was extensively damaged by the intense enemy fire. Realizing that the success of the impending fighter bomber attack on the center now depended on his ability to effectively suppress the defensive fire, Maj. Dethlefsen ignored the enemy's overwhelming firepower and the damage to his aircraft and pressed his attack. Despite a continuing hail of antiaircraft fire, deadly surface-to-air missiles, and counterattacks by MIG interceptors, Maj. Dethlefsen flew repeated close range strikes to silence the enemy defensive positions with bombs and cannon fire. His action in rendering ineffective the defensive SAM and antiaircraft artillery sites enabled the ensuing fighter bombers to strike successfully the important industrial target without loss or damage to their aircraft, thereby appreciably reducing the enemy's ability to provide essential war material. Maj. Dethlefsen's consummate skill and selfless dedication to this significant mission were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

Biography: (from )

Merlyn Dethlefsen was born on a farm in Greenville, Iowa, June 29, 1934. His father, Williard, was a farmer. His mother, Norma, was a schoolteacher. When Merlyn was a child, the family moved to a farm near Royal, Iowa. He graduated with honors from Royal High School in 1951, at age 16. Dethlefsen attended Iowa State University for two years before enlisting in the Air Force. Dethlefsen enlisted in the Air Force as an airman in 1953. He earned his navigator‚??s wings and commission through the aviation cadet program in 1955. He attended the United States Air War College and taught at the U.S. Army War College. Once back from Vietnam, he was stationed for a time at the Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma. He retired from the Air Force in 1977 as the director of operations, 96 Bombardment Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, SAC, in Abilene, Texas.
In 1965, he earned his college degree from University of Nebraska, Omaha, with a major in business. He earned a Master‚??s degree in psychology in 1972, from Troy State University.

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aviator (Command)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
9th Tactical Fighter Squadron560th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Chargin' Cheetahs333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron3575th Pilot Training Squadron (Cadre)
3576th Student SquadronAir War College (Student) Army War College  (Staff)9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing
96th Bombardment Wing, Heavy
  1961-1965, 9th Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1965-1966, 560th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Chargin' Cheetahs
  1966-1967, 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1967-1971, 3575th Pilot Training Squadron (Cadre)
  1967-1971, 3576th Student Squadron
  1971-1972, Air War College (Student)
  1972-1974, Army War College (Staff)
  1974-1975, 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing
  1975-1977, 96th Bombardment Wing, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1966-1967 Vietnam War
  1966-1967 Various Air Missions over North Vietnam
 Colleges Attended 
Iowa State UniversityUniversity of Nebraska, OmahaAir War College
  1951-1954, Iowa State University
  1963-1965, University of Nebraska, Omaha
  1971-1972, Air War College
 My Aircraft/Missiles
C-124 Globemaster II  F-100 Super Sabre  F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)  T-37 Tweet  
T-38 Talon  SR-71 Black Bird  B-52 Stratofortress (Buff)  
  1957-1959, C-124 Globemaster II
  1961-1966, F-100 Super Sabre
  1966-1967, F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)
  1967-1971, T-37 Tweet
  1967-1971, T-37 Tweet
  1967-1971, T-38 Talon
  1974-1075, SR-71 Black Bird
  1975-1977, B-52 Stratofortress (Buff)
Copyright Inc 2003-2011